PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 May, 2008, 12:00am

The need to talk

A recent survey found that 10 per cent of early primary school children in Hong Kong have some kind of communication disorder.

Schools should allow young students more time to practise their speaking skills, and parents should talk more with their children.

Otherwise the children's studies, and their social life, may be affected, they may be bullied, and their self-esteem may be damaged.

Tang Pui-ka, Christian Alliance S.C. Chan Memorial College

Vegetarian diet

Vegetarianism has become popular in recent years. Some people believe that the vegetarian diet is healthier. Some don't eat meat for religious reasons, or because they want to protect animals, or to help control their weight.

Although the vegetarian diet contains a lot of fibre, there are also disadvantages.

Vegetarians may become deficient in some nutrients. They may become weak and some may suffer from malnutrition, anaemia or other illnesses. And children, in particular, need proteins and carbohydrates to help them grow.Also, the vegetarian diet does not taste that good.

I think the vegetarian diet isn't the best. We need a balanced diet to make us healthier and stronger.

Becky Mark Yim-ping, SKH Lam Kau Mow Secondary School

Honest hypocrites

Most people think honesty is a good thing. For example, if your friend cheats during an exam and asks you to help hide this from the teacher, what would you do? Keep the secret or tell your teacher? I think most people would tell.

But if telling the truth would hurt someone, what would you do?

On the other hand, hypocrisy is seen as a bad thing, as when we cover up a mistake we have made.

But in some situations, lying may be better than telling the truth.

Coins have two sides. We should consider the situation and the people involved before deciding to be honest.

Julian Cheung Yung-him, Po Leung Kuk Celine Ho Yam Tong College

Make each day count

It is almost unbelievable that a massive earthquake in Sichuan has destroyed so many families and snatched away such a large number of our fellow nationals.

But from this natural disaster we can learn one lesson: to treasure what we have now because no one knows what will happen in the next second. No one knows whether our loved ones will be taken away in the twinkling of an eye.

So we should feel grateful to be alive. We should not allow regrets to live with us, but forget what is in the past and look forward to the future.

Simpson Fong Ka-tat, Carmel Alison Lam Foundation School

A balance between the old and the new

Although Hong Kong is one of the most developed cities in the world, the sense of cultural identity of Hong Kong people is declining daily.

The government continues with demolition projects and ignores the heritage value of old buildings. They believe they are helping the city's economic development, but I disagree.

I am not asking the government to stop development, but just to strike a balance with the preservation of heritage sites. Otherwise our original culture will be buried.

So, what is a heritage site? In my opinion, it is a site that has historical value and is full of memories for people.

Historical buildings can also serve as tourist attractions. For example, the Star Ferry was one of our most valuable heritage sites before it was dismantled. It attracted visitors from all over the world and gave them a lasting impression of Hong Kong.

And these heritage sites are not pieces of art; they can also generate income from entrance fees.

Of course, the income is much lower than from commercial development, but it helps to pay for the preservation of our culture and memories.

And many historical buildings are owned by individuals who, along with the general public, may wish to preserve them. Before starting demolition projects, the government should give consideration to the social benefits of preservation, and it should consult the public.While development is not bad, if a city does not have any heritage sites, it will become a 'dead city'.

And if the focus is only on money, memories will be forgotten. The government should put more effort into preserving heritage sites.

Steve Law, SKH Li Fook Hing Secondary School

Response to Sichuan earthquake

I appreciate the Chinese government's prompt reaction to the unexpected disaster in Sichuan.

Although the rescuers cannot save more lives because of the blocked roads that delay their progress, they are trying their best. They do not care about their own safety and they have not slept for several days because they are desperate to save even just one life.

From this disaster, we can see that China has become a much more open country. Unlike in 1976, after the Tangshan earthquake, the government released news immediately and has welcomed foreign reporters.

The rescue work is not over. There is still much to be done, such as preventing the spread of diseases, re-settling the survivors, treating the injured, both physically and emotionally, burying the dead and rebuilding the areas that have been so badly damaged.

All of this is very important for the victims. I hope that Sichuan recovers soon and the people can overcome the trauma of the experience.

Shadow Wong, St Antonius Girls' College